Market Update: June 26, 2017

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Last Week’s Market Activity

  • After closing once again at record levels last Monday, the Dow and the S&P 500 Index battled a wave of sector rotation for the balance of the week, finishing higher by the slightest of margins.
  • It was the 2nd consecutive weekly gain for the S&P 500, as increases in healthcare (+3.7%) and technology (+2.3%) offset weakness in the energy (-2.9%), financials (-1.8%), and utilities (-1.8%) sectors.  Positive news on drug development and potential changes to the Affordable Care Act drove healthcare higher, while continued weakness in WTI crude oil ($43.00; -4.0% for the week) pressured the energy sector.
  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.14%, its second lowest close of 2017, pressuring the U.S. dollar, which edged down -0.2% on Friday.

Overnight & This Morning

  • Asian stocks rose for a third day, led by technology companies.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose +2.0% and equity markets in China and Hong Kong had gains approaching 1.0%. In Japan, The Nikkei managed to climb despite a report from the Bank of International Settlements warning of dollar denominated risk on bank balance sheets.
  • European stocks rebounded from three weeks of losses. German business confidence hit a record in June, but Italy had to bail out two banks totaling $19 billion.
  • Commodities – WTI crude oil rose, trimming its biggest monthly decline in one year. Gold extended its decline to the lowest level in almost six weeks.
  • U.S. stock futures are up slightly as the dollar climbed and Treasury yields jumped after several Federal Reserve officials suggested further rate increases.

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Key Insights

  • Mixed signals. The financial markets are sending mixed signals, trading within a tight range in an extended expansion. The debate now centers on if the U.S. economy can continue to exhibit growth in output and profits (signal from stocks) or it may slip into a recession (signal from Treasuries). Our view is that though the growth rate in manufacturing may have peaked, we expect Purchasing Manager Indexes (PMI) to remain in expansion territory. While auto sales may be down ~5.0% from last year, the rise in household formation suggests pent up demand remains in the housing market. Finally, with solid employment levels and improving wages, consumption is well-positioned to support growth and any clarity on regulation, infrastructure, and tax plans could provide an additional boost.
  • Brexit. Friday marked the 1st anniversary of the controversial Brexit vote, which called for the U.K. to leave the European Union (EU).  To mark the occasion, the pound sterling rose +0.2% to $1.27, paring its weekly decline, and the FTSE 100 Index fell -0.2% on Friday. While the U.K. is the largest importer of the EU countries, the FTSE 100 is largely comprised of exporters, with 2/3rds of its revenue generated overseas.  This helps explain why the approximately 15.0% drop in the pound sterling was accompanied by a rise of a similar magnitude (+17.0%) in the FTSE 100 over the past year.

Macro Notes

  • Technicals continue to look strong. One of the strongest aspects of this equity bull market has been that the technicals have and continue to support higher prices. This week we take a closer look at the global bull market and why broad participation suggests it still has legs.
  • 41 weeks and counting. The S&P 500 has now gone 41 straight weeks without closing lower by 2% or more, but that’s not even the most surprising point.

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Monday

  • Durable Goods Orders (May)
  • Chicago Fed National Activity Report (May)
  • Cap Goods Shipments and Orders (May)
  • Dallas Fed Mfg. Report (Jun)
  • ECB: Draghi
  • BOE: Carney
  • BOJ: Kuroda

Tuesday

  • Conference Board Consumer Confidence (Jun)
  • Richmond Fed Mfg. Report (Jun)
  • Italy: Mfg. & Consumer Confidence

Wednesday

  • Advance Report on Goods Trade Balance (May)
  • Wholesale Inventories (May)
  • Pending Home Sales (May)
  • France: Consumer Confidence (Jun)
  • Eurozone: Money Supply (May)
  • Itally: PPI & CPI (Jun)
  • Bank of Canada: Poloz
  • Japan: Retail Sales (May)

Thursday

  • GDP (Q1)
  • Germany: CPI (Jun)
  • Eurozone: Consumer Confidence (Jun)
  • BOJ: Harada
  • Japan: National CPI (May)
  • Japan: Industrial Production (May)
  • China: Mfg. & Non-Mfg. PMI (Jun)

Friday

  • Personal Income (May)
  • Consumer Spending (May)
  • Chicago PMI (May)
  • Core Inflation (May)
  • UK: GDP (Q1)
  • France: CPI (Jun)
  • Germany: Unemployment Change (Jun)
  • Eurozone: CPI (Jun)
  • Canada: GDP (Apr)
  • Japan: Vehicle Production (May)
  • Japan: Housing Starts (May)
  • Japan: Construction Orders (May)

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Update: June 5, 2017

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Last Week’s Market Activity

  • Solid Friday and holiday-shortened week for stocks… and more record highs. S&P 500 gained +0.36% on Friday, +0.96% for the week to end at a record high (2439.07). Nasdaq led major averages Friday (+0.94%) and for the week (+1.54%). Small caps beat mid and large (Russell indexes).
  • Tech drove Friday’s gains, led by semis and software. Financials hit by lower rates and yield curve flattening post jobs miss. Energy was the biggest decliner on falling oil prices.
  • Weaker dollar helped COMEX gold Friday (+0.8%) but not WTI crude oil (-1.4%)
  • 10-year yield dipped 0.06% to 2.15%, lowest closing level of 2017 and lowest since just after the election
  • Friday miss on U.S. nonfarm payrolls unlikely to sway Fed next week (details below)
  • Defensive tilt to weekly performance. Telecom topped weekly sector rankings, followed by healthcare. Oil fell > 4%; 10-year Treasury yield dropped 0.10%.

Overnight & This Morning

  • Stocks in Asia mostly lower amid relatively light news
  • In Europe, shares down (Euro Stoxx 600 -0.2%), continuing Friday slide
  • Weak sentiment after more terrorist attacks in London over the weekend
  • Euro up 0.3% to $1.12
  • Commodities – Mostly lower, led by weakness in industrial metals and energy, with WTI oil near $47/bbl. COMEX gold (0.3%) adding to Friday’s gains at $1283, copper (-0.7%)
  • U.S. stock, Treasury yields up slightly.
  • U.S. dollar mixed vs major currencies

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Key Insights

  • Goldilocks environment. Steady but not booming job gains and inflation leveling off suggests economy is not too hot, not too cold. Wage gains are benign-average hourly earnings +2.5% YoY in Friday’s May jobs report. We’ve seen a mixed set of data recently: soft Q1 GDP, Q2 tracking near +3%, and earnings looking good. The Fed Beige Book cited most Fed districts continue to expand at a modest or moderate pace. Sounds like Goldilocks.
  • Any concern that the Fed may be behind the curve are misplaced, at least for now. The market is only pricing in a 44% chance of another rate hike in 2017 (after one in June), and just one hike in 2018.
  • An expensive stock market can stay expensive. The 17.7 times forward price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple, where it stood in early 2015, is more reasonable than the trailing PE (20.7) for the S&P 500 but is still at the high end of the historical range. We reiterate valuations are not good predictors of near-term stock market moves, an important message for clients.

Macro Notes

  • Jobs miss doesn’t mean Fed pause. The economy added 138K new jobs in May, well below consensus expectations of 185K, with additional downward revisions for March and April; unemployment rate edged lower to 4.3% from 4.4% on lower labor participation rate. The report may give the Fed some pause, but given the overall backdrop a June hike remains far more likely than not.
  • The China Caixin Manufacturing PMI index was below 50 when reported last week, but overnight the services PMI was 52.8, much better than last month’s 51.5. The overall composite number of 51.5 suggests a continued, but slowing, expansion in the Chinese economy. We expect the government to continue to try to reduce leverage in the economy, but not to engage in any major reforms until after the Communist Party meeting this fall.

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  • Politics and central banks highlight the week ahead. Politics and central banks highlight the coming week, with Thursday, June 8 of particular importance as it brings the U.K. general election, the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting, and testimony of former FBI Director James Comey. Data of note in the U.S. includes durable goods and Services Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Overseas, Eurozone and Japan Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and Chinese inflation and money supply data are due out.

Monday

  • Nonfarm Productivty (Q1)
  • Unit Labor Costs (Q1)
  • ISM Non-Mfg. Composite (May)
  • Factory Orders (Apr)
  • Durable Goods Orders (Apr)
  • Cap Goods Shipments & Orders (Apr)
  • UK: Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI

Tuesday

  • Eurozone: Markit Eurozone Services PMI (May)

Wednesday

  • Eurozone: GDP (Q1)
  • Japan: GDP (Q1)
  • Japan: Current Account Balance (Apr)
  • Japan: Trade Balance (Apr)

Thursday

  • Germany: Industrial Production (Apr)
  • UK: General Election, 2017
  • ECB: Draghi
  • Japan: Machine Tool Orders (May)
  • China: CPI & PPI (May)

Friday

  • Wholesale Sales & Inventories (Apr)
  • France: Industrial Production (Apr)
  • UK: Industrial Production (Apr)
  • UK: Trade Balance (Apr)
  • China: Money Supply and New Yuan Loans (May)

 

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC

The Truth About Present-Day Retirement

Times have changed and so has retirement! Nowadays, retirement is no longer what people once expected. If you’re preparing to retire, the way your parents did, you might be stuck in the past and need to face present-day reality. So, what has changed in the last 10 years? Well, the factors below will shift your perspective about how you should be preparing for retirement!

First, with all the advancements of medicine and technology that we’ve had in this last decade, it’s no surprise that people are living longer. In the past, living 30 years after retirement, was actually outside the norm of an adult’s lifespan. Therefore, the 4% safe withdrawal rate that many financial planners followed was a valid rule of thumb. This guideline told retirees that if they took out only 4% of their assets and adjusted to inflation in their retirement portfolio, the risk of running out of money 30 years after they retired was very low.

But it’s no longer the case! If you’re saving conservatively for an amount that would last you around 30 years, disregard the 4% rule. People are now living past the age of 95 and a good amount of them are even retiring early. The average portfolio return for the standard investor has also decreased and is subject to more risk from the impacts of market volatility. The chances of outliving your nest egg is a lot higher these days.

Not only are people starting to live longer, the divorce rate is also significantly higher. You can no longer assume that you’ll still be married once you retire! How is that an issue, you ask? Well, a divorce could be a serious stumbling block for your retirement plan since your income might be cut in half during your golden years. Not to mention, your retirement assets might be split among you and your ex-spouse. Because of a divorce, you’ll most likely have to change your retirement strategy and lifestyle.

Have you noticed that everything costs a lot more than it used to? Some of this increase can be a result of natural inflation in prices. But, according to our government, inflation is very tame and under control. Yet, the cost of everyday goods is a lot higher and will keep outpacing inflation throughout your retirement. And it is not just everyday expenses that you’ll need to factor into your budget, there’s the added healthcare costs as well. Given the fact that there’s a good chance you’ll live longer, there are more medical issues you’ll be susceptible to. Not to mention the fact that your chances of getting injured or breaking something will dramatically increase. This means a lot more medical bills and trips to the doctor’s office! On top of that, the fact that a third of us will require some sort of assistance or nursing care, and you can see how retirement costs can skyrocket! Basically, retirement is not as cheap as it used to be.

Finally, if you think about your assets, it’s safe to assume that your home is your most valuable one. You may be able to sell it at a profit, assuming that the value has increased over the years. However, that might be a misconception! In order to determine whether or not you’ll actually get a return on your investment, you’ll need to adjust for inflation and taxes. Also, if we experience any major volatility in the housing market like we did in the past, you might not be able to get as much money for your property as you expected. Like all markets, the real estate market can be unpredictable.

So, with all of these changes, how can one successfully save for retirement? Well, my biggest recommendation for every pre-retiree that I talk to is, BE PREPARED! It’s always better to set your retirement savings goal beyond your expected amount, than below it. With the unpredictability of divorce, age, and the financial markets, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you aim higher and save more, then your risk of running out of money during retirement will be a lot lower. Part of being prepared is to work closely with a financial planner that can guide your through your Golden Years. This ‘financial coach’ should be able to point out pitfalls that you might not have even thought of. It’s their job to make sure that you’re on track and don’t fall victim to your own wrongdoings. As well as to create a retirement game plan and an investment road-map that takes taxes and your risk tolerance into consideration.

Being prepared for retirement can be a daunting task. Especially given all the unknowns out there. But with proper preparation and guidance from a financial professional, you can glide into retirement knowing full well that you’re ready for the challenge!

Market Update: May 1, 2017

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  • Stocks head higher to begin week. U.S. stocks are modestly higher in early trading, following news that Congress reached an agreement late Sunday to fund the government through September 30; pending approval by Friday, the deal will avoid a government shutdown. The major averages all closed lower on Friday, though the S&P 500 still managed a 1.5% gain for the week. Earnings dominated last week’s headlines, as the S&P’s advance was led by more than 2% weekly gains in the technology, healthcare and consumer discretionary sectors. Overnight, nearly all major markets in Asia and Europe were closed for holidays; Japan’s Nikkei was the exception, closing up 0.6% after Purchasing Mangers’ Index (PMI) data came in near expectations. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury is up slightly to 2.30%, COMEX gold ($12669/oz.) is flat, and WTI crude oil is dropping more than 1% to below $49/barrel.

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  • Another busy week of earnings on tap. A very strong earnings season continues this week with 127 more S&P 500 companies slated to report results. With about two-thirds of companies having reported, S&P 500 earnings for the first quarter of 2017 are now tracking to a 13.6% year-over-year increase, well above the 10.2% increase reflected in consensus estimates as of April 1. The upside surprise has been about more than just easy comparisons in energy, with broad-based strength across several key sectors, including financials, healthcare, industrials, and technology. The 77% earnings beat rate thus far, should it hold, would be the best since 2010.

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  • Company guidance has been more upbeat than usual. Forward estimates for the S&P 500 have only fallen 0.2% since earnings season begin, reflecting generally optimistic guidance from corporate America (average earnings season declines are 2-3%). We see little potential for policy upside in calendar 2017 (though there is a fair amount in 2018), suggesting most of the resilience in earnings estimates reflects recent firming in the business environment.
  • Employment report highlights a busy week. The first week of the month always includes some key economic data, highlighted by Friday’s Employment Situation report. Usually, any Federal Reserve (Fed) policy meeting would be the week’s highlight, but this week’s meeting, concluding Wednesday, will not receive as much attention, with expectations near zero for a rate hike and no new projections accompanying the release of the policy statement. We’ll also get a read on U.S. business activity, with April manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMI from the Institute for Supply Management released on Monday and Wednesday, respectively. Internationally, we’ll get March Eurozone unemployment on Tuesday, Eurozone first quarter 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) on Wednesday, and preliminary Eurozone PMI data on Thursday.
  • Congress reaches deal to fund the government. As expected, after an initial one-week extension, House and Senate negotiators reached a deal to fund the government through September. A vote is expected later this week, possibly as early as Wednesday. Although few saw material risk of a shutdown, clearing this hurdle does help pave the way for other initiatives. Tax reform is the top priority but Republican policymakers continue to try to craft an agreement to repeal and replace ObamaCare, where the path to compromise remains extremely difficult.
  • Almost all markets in Europe and Asia are closed today for the May 1 holiday. Japan is the major exception to the general state. One data point was released, Chinese manufacturing PMI was 51.2, lower than the March figure of 51.8 and also lower than expectations. Lower prices for commodities is largely the culprit, not a drop in demand. Still, it does highlight the sensitivity of the Chinese economy to “Old Industrial China.” After generally good economic reports in Q1 2017, the Chinese government has announced a series of crackdowns on excessive leverage in the real estate and financial markets.
  • Reflecting on Nasdaq 6000. The Nasdaq Composite hit 6000 last week, more than 17 years (or 6250-plus days) after first reaching 5000 back in March of 2000. During the dotcom boom in the late 1990s, moves from 3000 to 4000 and 4000 to 5000 were quick at 56 and 71 days, before the long and winding road to 6000 over the course of nearly two decades. Although this milestone has sparked more bubble talk in the media, we believe stocks are far from bubble territory, and the Nasdaq stands on a much stronger foundation today than it did in the days leading up to the dotcom crash.
  • Welcome to May. May is a busy month with multiple events that could move global markets. From the Fed meeting, to Presidential election in France, to the kickoff of what has historically been the worst six months of the year for equities; this is a big month.

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Monday

  • Personal Consumption Expediture Core & Deflator (Mar)
  • ISM Mfg. PMI (Apr)
  • BOJ: Minutes of March 15-16 Meeting
  • China: Caixin Mfg. PMI (Apr)

Tuesday

  • Eurozone: Unemployment Rate (Mar)

Wednesday

  • ISM Non-Mfg. PMI (Apr)
  • FOMC Rate Decision (May 3)
  • Eurozone: GDP (Q1)

Thursday

  • Eurozone: Markit PMI (Apr)
  • Eurozone: Retail Sales (Mar)

Friday

  • Change in Nonfarm, Private & Mfg. Payrolls (Apr)
  • Unemployment Rate (Apr)
  • Labor Force Participation & Underemployment Rates (Apr)

 

 

 

 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

29 Biggest Tax Problems For Married Couples

Preparing your annual income tax return is a chore. It’s even more complex when you’re married. You might have two sets of income, assets, debts and deductions. Further, if you were separated, widowed or divorced during the year, you might have a thorny tax situation.

A qualified accountant can advise you on the basic tax problems that married couples face. For a brief introduction, read through to see 29 of the most significant tax problems married people might encounter. Understanding these challenges can help you get more tax breaks this year.

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1. YOU’RE NOT SURE OF THE YOUR MARITAL STATUS FOR THE TAX YEAR

When preparing taxes, you first need to determine your marital status. It might seem like a straightforward task. However, life is not always so simple.

The IRS considers you to be married if you were lawfully wed on the last day of the tax year. For example, if you tied the knot at any time in the past and were still married on Dec. 31, 2016, you were married to your spouse for the entire year in the eyes of the IRS. The laws of the state where you live determine whether you were married or legally separated for the tax year.

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2. YOU’RE NOT SURE OF YOUR MARITAL STATUS IN A SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIP

Married, same-sex couples are treated the same as married, heterosexual couples for federal tax purposes. However, same-sex couples in a registered domestic partnership or civil union cannot choose to file as married couples, as state law doesn’t consider those types of couples to be married.

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3. YOU DON’T KNOW WHICH FILING STATUS TO CHOOSE

If you weren’t married on Dec. 31 of the tax year, the IRS considers you to be single, head of household or a qualified widow(er) for that year.

If you were married, there are three filing possibilities:

  • Married filing jointly
  • Married filing separately
  • Head of household

If more than one category might apply to you, the IRS permits you to pick the one that lets you pay the least amount in taxes.

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4. YOU CAN’T DECIDE WHETHER TO FILE JOINTLY OR SEPARATELY

If you’re married and don’t qualify to file as head of household, you typically have two choices: filing jointly or separately. It’s best to choose the one that allows you to pay the least amount in taxes, which all comes down to your particular circumstances.

Sometimes it makes sense to file separately, said Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting, a New York-based accounting firm. “A joint return means that your finances are linked, so you’re both liable for each other’s debts, penalties and liabilities,” he said. “So if either of you has some financial issues or baggage, then filing separately will better protect your spouse from your bad record, or vice versa.”

If you file jointly, you can’t later uncouple yourselves to file married filing separately. “On the other hand, if you file separate returns and then realize you should have filed jointly, you can amend your returns to file jointly, within three years,” Zimmelman said.

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5. YOU ASSUME MARRIED FILING JOINTLY IS ALWAYS THE BEST OPTION

Even if married filing jointly has been your best choice in the past, don’t assume it will always be that way. Do the calculations each year to determine whether filing singly or jointly will give you the best tax result.

Changes in your personal circumstances or new tax laws might make a new filing status more desirable. What was once a marriage tax break might turn into a reason to file separately, or vice versa.

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6. YOU’RE NOT CLEAR ABOUT HEALTHCARE REQUIREMENTS

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — more commonly known as “Obamacare” — requires that you and your dependents have qualifying health care coverage throughout the year, unless you qualify for an exemption or make a shared responsibility payment.

Even if you lose your health insurance coverage because of divorce, you still need continued coverage for you and your dependents during the entire tax year.

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7. YOU CHANGED YOUR LAST NAME

If you want to change your last name after a marriage or divorce, you must officially inform the federal government. Your first stop is the Social Security Administration. Your name on your tax return must match your name in the SSA records. Otherwise, your tax refund might be delayed due to the mismatched records. Also, don’t forget to update the changed names of any dependents.

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8. YOUR SPOUSE DIED DURING THE TAX YEAR

If your spouse died during the year, you’ll need to figure out your filing status. If you didn’t marry someone else the same year, you may file with your deceased spouse as married filing jointly.

If you did remarry during that tax year, you and your new spouse may file jointly. However, in that case, you and your deceased spouse must file separately for the last tax year of the spouse’s life.

In addition, if you didn’t remarry during the tax year of your spouse’s death, you might be able to file as qualifying widow(er) with dependent child for the following two years if you meet certain conditions. This entitles you to use joint return tax rates and the highest standard deduction amount.

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9. YOU FILE JOINTLY AND YOU’RE BOTH LIABLE

If you use the status married filing jointly, each spouse is jointly and severally liable for all the tax on your combined income, said Gail Rosen, a Martinsville, N.J.-based certified public accountant. “This means that the IRS can come after either one of you to collect the full amount of the tax,” she said.

“If you are worried about your spouse and being responsible for their share of their taxes — including interest and penalties — then you might consider filing separately,’ she said.

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10. YOU FILE SEPARATELY AND LOSE TAX BENEFITS

Although filing separately might protect you from joint and several liabilities for your spouse’s mistakes, it does have some disadvantages.

For example, people who choose the married filing separately status might lose their ability to deduct student loan interest entirely. In addition, they’re not eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and they might also lose the ability to claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit or Adoption Tax Credit, said Eric Nisall, an accountant and founder of AccountLancer, which provides accounting services to freelancers.

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11. YOU DON’T MEET THE MEDICAL EXPENSE DEDUCTION THRESHOLD

To include non-reimbursed medical and dental expenses in itemized deductions, the expenses must meet a threshold of exceeding 10 percent of your adjusted gross income. However, when you file jointly — and thus report a larger combined income — it can make it more difficult for you to qualify.

A temporary exception to the 10 percent threshold for filers ages 65 or older ran through Dec. 31, 2016. Under this rule, individuals only need to exceed a lower 7.5 percent threshold before they are eligible for the deduction. The exception applies to married couples even if only one person in the marriage is 65 or older.

Starting Jan. 1, 2017, all filers must meet the 10 percent threshold for itemizing medical deductions, regardless of age.

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12. YOU DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MARRIAGE BONUS

Many people complain about the marriage tax penalty. “Married filing jointly may result in a higher tax bill for the couple versus when each spouse was filing single, especially if both spouses make roughly the same amount of income,” said Andrew Oswalt, a certified public accountant and tax analyst for TaxAct, a tax-preparation software company.

However, you might have an opportunity to pay less total tax — a marriage tax break — if one spouse earns significantly less. “When couples file jointly with largely differing income levels, this may result in a ‘marriage tax benefit,’ potentially resulting in less tax owed than when the spouses filed with a single filing status,” Oswalt said.

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13. YOU’RE DIVORCED BUT STILL NEED TO FILE A FINAL MARRIED RETURN

If your divorce became official during the tax year, you need to agree with your ex-spouse on your filing status for the prior year when you were still married. As to whether you should file your final return jointly or separately, there is no single correct answer. It partially depends on your relationship with your ex-spouse and whether you can agree on such potentially major financial decisions.

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14. YOU HAVE TO DETERMINE THE STATUS OF DEPENDENTS AFTER A DIVORCE

Tax laws about who qualifies as a dependent are quite complex. Divorcing parents might need to determine which parent gets to claim the exemption for dependent children.

Normally, the custodial parent takes the deduction, Zimmelman said. “So if your child lives with you more than half the year and you’re paying at least 50 percent of their support, then you should claim them as your dependent,” he said.

In cases of shared custody and support, you have a few options. “You might consider alternating every other year who gets to claim them,” said Zimmelman. Or if you have two children, each parent can decide to claim one child, he said.

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15. YOU DEDUCT VOLUNTARY ALIMONY PAYMENTS

If you want to deduct alimony payments you made to a former spouse, it must be in accordance with a legal divorce or separation decree. You can’t deduct payments you made on a voluntary basis.

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16. YOU DEDUCT CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS

Even if you don’t take the standard deduction and instead itemize your deductions, you can’t claim child support payments you paid to a custodial parent.

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17. YOU CLAIM CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS AS INCOME

Do not report court-ordered child support payments as part of your taxable income. You don’t need to report it anywhere on your tax return. On the other hand, you must report alimony you receive as income on line 11 of your Form 1040.

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18. YOU DON’T CLAIM ALIMONY YOU PAID AS A DEDUCTION

Unlike child support that isn’t tax deductible, you are permitted to deduct court-ordered alimony you paid to a former spouse. It’s a deduction you can take even if you don’t itemize your deductions.

Make sure you include your ex-spouse’s Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number on line 31b of your own Form 1040. Otherwise, you might have to pay a $50 penalty and your deduction might be disallowed.

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19. YOUR SPOUSE DOESN’T WORK AND MISSES TAX SAVINGS

Saving for retirement is important. Contribute to a 401k plan and you will both save money for your golden years and lower your taxable income now. If your employer offers a 401k plan, you can contribute money on a pretax basis, subject to certain limits.

However, nonworking spouses can’t contribute to a 401k because they don’t have wages from an employer.

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20. YOU MISS QUARTERLY TAX PAYMENTS

Single or married, you might have to pay quarterly tax payments to the IRS, especially if you are self-employed. Make sure you know how to calculate estimated taxes. If you are required to make such payments but do not do so, you might have to pay an underpayment penalty, Rosen said.

All taxpayers must pay in taxes during the year equal to the lower of 90 percent of the tax owed for the current year, or 100 percent — 110 percent for higher-income taxpayers — of the tax shown on your tax return for the prior year, Rosen said. “The problem for married couples is that often they do not realize they owe more taxes due to the combining of the two incomes,” she said.

You should be proactive each year. “To avoid owing the underpayment penalty, make sure to do a projection of your potential tax for 2017 when you finish preparing your 2016 taxes,” she said, adding that you should make sure to comply with the payment rules outlined above.

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21. YOU PHASE OUT OF PASSIVE LOSSES

Crystal Stranger — a Los Angeles-based enrolled agent, president of 1st Tax and author of “The Small Business Tax Guide” — said she sees a lot of married couples who have issues with passive loss limitation rules.

“With these rules, if you have a passive loss from rental real estate or other investments, you are allowed to take up to $25,000 of passive losses against your other income,” she said. “But this amount phases out starting at $100,000 (of) adjusted gross income, and is fully lost by $150,000 (of) adjusted gross income.”

Married filers lose out, as the phaseout amount is the same for a single taxpayer as for a married couple. “This is a big marriage penalty existing in the tax code,” Stranger said. “It gets even worse if a married couple files separately. The phaseout then starts at $12,500, meaning almost no (married filing separately) filers will qualify.”

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22. YOU CLAIM A CHILD AS A DEPENDENT, BUT YOUR INCOME IS HIGH

You are not obligated to claim your kids as dependents on your own tax return. In fact, it might be beneficial not to claim them.

“High earners lose the personal exemption after crossing certain income thresholds,” said Nisall. So in some cases, it might make more sense to let working children claim the exemption for themselves on their own return, he said.

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23. YOU MISS OUT ON THE CHILD TAX CREDIT

Married couples might be able to claim the Child Tax Credit up to a limit of $1,000 for each qualifying child.

“The Child Tax Credit phases out starting at $55,000 for couples electing to use the married filing separately filing status, and (at) $110,000 for those choosing the married filing jointly status,” said Oswalt. “But married couples receive twice the standard deduction that individuals receive, so the phaseout limitations may not negatively impact a married couple’s return if they choose to file jointly.”

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24. YOU NEGLECT THE TAX BREAK FROM A HOME SALE

The IRS provides a tax break when you sell your home, subject to certain conditions. Generally, you must meet a minimum residency period by owning and living in the house for two of the five years previous to the sale.

A single person who owns a home that has increased in value can qualify to exclude up to $250,000 in gains from income, said Oswalt. However, married people can exclude up to $500,000 in gains. This rule can become tricky if one person in the couple purchased the house prior to marriage.

“If you are married when you sell the house, only one of you needs to meet the ownership test for the $250,000 exclusion,” Oswalt said. “You both must meet the residency period to exclude up to the full $500,000 of gain from your income, however.”

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25. YOU DON’T CLAIM THE CHILD AND DEPENDENT CARE CREDIT

Married tax filers might be eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit if they paid expenses for the care of a qualifying individual so that they could work or look for work. The rules for who can be a dependent and who can be a care provider are strict. This credit is not available if you file separately.

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26. YOU CAN’T DEDUCT STUDENT LOAN INTEREST

If you’re paying back student loans, you might be looking forward to taking the student loan interest deduction. However, if you’re married, it might not be so easy to do that.

“For a single filer, the deduction begins to phase out when the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income is greater than $65,000,” said Oswalt. “This amount is doubled to $130,000 when filing jointly.”

“So if both spouses are making $65,000 or less, then their deduction will not be affected by the phaseout,” he explained. “However, if one is making $60,000 and the other $75,000, the deduction begins to phase out, which will ultimately result in a larger tax bill.”

Young woman playing slot machines at the Casino

27. YOU INCORRECTLY ACCOUNT FOR GAMBLING WINS AND LOSSES

Imagine a married couple where both spouses like to gamble in Las Vegas. He’s not so lucky and has losses, while she has winnings. If they file a joint return, they might have to report the gambling winnings as taxable income. Meanwhile, the losses might be deductible if the couple itemizes their deductions instead of taking the standard deduction.

However, they can’t take the amount of gambling winnings, subtract the losses and claim the net amount as winnings. Instead, they must report the entire amount of gambling winnings as income, whereas the losses are reported as an itemized deduction up to the amount of the winnings. The IRS requires you to keep accurate records of your winnings and losses.

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28. YOU BECAME A VICTIM OF TAX IDENTITY THEFT

Identify theft is a financial nightmare, no matter how it happens. Tax identity theft happens when someone files a tax return using one or both of the spouse’s Social Security numbers in hopes of scooping up your legitimate refund. If this happens to you, “contact the IRS immediately and fill out an identity-theft affidavit,” said Zimmelman. “You should also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, contact your banks and credit card companies, and put a fraud alert on your and your spouse’s credit reports.”

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29. YOU CAN’T GET YOUR 2015 RETURN

The IRS and state tax agencies work to develop safeguards to avoid identity theft related to tax returns. In 2017, they will be particularly concerned about the implications of taxpayers who file using tax software.

The IRS has alerted taxpayers that they might need to have their 2015 adjusted gross income handy if they are changing software products this year. This number might be required to submit your return electronically.

Getting your 2015 adjusted gross income might be difficult if you are a member of a divorced couple that is not on positive terms, or that hasn’t even been in contact the past few years.

However, you still have options. You might be able to get the information if you go to the IRS website and use the Get Transcript service.

 

 

Written By: Valerie Rind
Source: GOBankingRates

Market Update: April 10, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Stocks move higher to start week. U.S. equities are modestly higher this morning as investors look ahead to the start of first quarter earnings season, with several tier one banks set to report later this week. This after major indexes shook off a lackluster jobs report and pushed higher through midday, only to give back gains late in the session; the S&P 500 fell 0.1%. The telecom (+0.2%) and healthcare (+0.2%) sectors clung to modest gains, while financials (-0.3%) and energy (-0.4%) stocks were among the days’ laggards. Overseas, investors are focusing on political turmoil stemming from Syrian incidents amid light economic data; Asian markets were mixed overnight, with the Nikkei (+0.7%) advancing, and the Shanghai Composite (-0.5%) moving lower; while European indexes are near flat amid range-bound trading. Elsewhere, WTI crude oil ($52.80/barrel) continues to climb on regional turmoil in the middle east, COMEX gold ($1250/oz.) is lower, and Treasury yields are down slightly to 2.37% on the 10-year.

MacroView_header

  • Over the last month, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) fell 20 points to 235. The CCI remains in the middle of the range it has held since 2010. Falling shipping traffic and an increase in initial jobless claims off of near 40-year lows were the main detractors from the CCI in the last month, while fed fund rate expectations and credit spreads were the main positive contributors.
  • Inflation and highlights from this week’s economic calendar. Despite Friday’s holiday, retail sales and the consumer price index (CPI) will be reported on that day (producer prices come Thursday) and will highlight what is otherwise a quiet week of data in the U.S. Two reports that deserve some attention, however, are National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism and JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover) which will provide some insights into the policy-driven rise in business confidence and the job market, where Friday’s weak payroll employment report raised some concerns. Overseas, we get Chinese and Japanese trade data and G7 Finance Ministers will meet, while geopolitical risk will remain in focus following last week’s military strike in Syria.
  • S&P 500 poised for double-digit earnings gain. The S&P 500 is likely to produce double-digit year-over-year earnings growth for the first quarter (Thomson-tracked consensus is +10.1%) as earnings season gets underway this week. Earnings growth would reach 12-14%, the best since 2011, should companies beat estimates by the average 4.1% seen over the last five years according to FactSet. Last year’s first quarter marked the trough of the earnings recession, setting up an easy comparison, though we have several other reasons to be optimistic. Growth is expected to be powered by energy’s rebound from the oil downturn that battered the sector early last year while solid macro data in recent months is also supportive.
  • Fed balance sheet. Minutes from the recent Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting, released last Wednesday, signaled that the Fed intends to reduce its sizable $4.2 trillion balance sheet. We’ll analyze the options available to the Fed to accomplish a reduction of this size. In addition to how the balance sheet was built, we look at the structure of the assets within the portfolio for clues as to how the normalization may impact markets.
  • Continued strong breadth. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Composite Advance/Decline (A/D) line broke out to new highs last week. This is one of our favorite technical indicators, as it shows how many stocks are advancing versus declining at any given time. In other words, it measures overall market breadth. To see new highs occur suggests there is a good deal of investor participation and the overall equity rally could continue to have legs. Also, the NYSE A/D line broke out to new highs one year ago this week, well ahead of the eventual S&P 500 Index’s (SPX) new highs in July 2016.

MonitoringWeek_header

Tuesday

  • Eurozone: Industrial Production (Feb)

Wednesday

  • Bank of Canada Rate Decision & Monetary Policy Report

Thursday

  • Initial Jobless Claims (Apr 1)

Friday

  • Banks Open, Markets Closed
  • CPI (Mar)
  • Retail Sales (Mar)

 

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. 

Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

 

Market Update: March 27, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Equities slip after healthcare reform shelved. U.S. indexes are tracking global stocks lower this morning after Congress was unable to push through the American Health Care Act, casting some uncertainty over prospects for tax reform as well. On Friday, the S&P 500 (-0.1%) closed modestly lower, dragged down by materials (-0.9%) and energy (-0.5%); utilities (+0.4%) was the best performing sector. Overnight, Asian markets were led lower by Japan’s Nikkei (-1.4%) on yen strength; Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (-0.7%) and China’s Shanghai Composite (-0.1%) fared better. Stocks are also lower across the board in Europe, notably in Germany’s DAX (-0.9%) and Italy’s MIB (-0.9%). Elsewhere, the recent weakness in WTI crude oil ($47.21/barrel) continues, while the risk-off sentiment is boosting COMEX gold ($1262/oz.) and Treasuries, lowering the yield on the 10-year Note by five basis points (0.05%) to 2.35%.

MacroView_header

  • Our Final Four factors in today’s Weekly Market Commentary. With college basketball’s Final Four set, this week we share our “Final Four factors” for the stock market in 2017. We expect a hard-fought battle between these factors and market risks. But when the “tournament” is over on December 31, depending on the path of policy out of Washington, D.C., we expect the S&P 500 to be at or above current levels.
    1. Economic Growth – We continue to expect a modest pickup in economic growth in 2017 to near 2.5%, based on gross domestic product (GDP), supported by increasing business investment, steady consumer spending gains, and, later in the year, pro-growth fiscal policy to be enacted.
    2. Earnings – We expect high-single-digit S&P 500 earnings growth in 2017[1], supported by better U.S. economic growth, rebounding energy sector profits, a stable U.S. dollar, and resilient profit margins.
    3. Corporate Tax Reform – Corporate tax reform, which remains the centerpiece of the Trump economic agenda, is still likely to get done in the next year despite the failure to get the healthcare bill through the House last week. The Trump administration will immediately pivot to tax reform, though a comprehensive overhaul will be difficult to achieve.
    4. The Fed – We expect the Federal Reserve (Fed) to hike interest rates twice more in 2017 following the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) rate hike on March 15. We are encouraged by the Fed’s acknowledgement of the improved economic outlook and its stated plan to hike rates gradually.
  • Down seven in a row. The Dow closed lower on Friday for the seventh consecutive session. The last seven-day losing streak was ahead of the U.S. election, and it hasn’t been down eight in a row since August 2011. The S&P 500 meanwhile has closed lower six of the past seven days. Taking a closer look at the Dow’s seven-day losing streak, it has been green at some point each day. Also, the total loss during the streak is only 1.7%. To put this in perspective, since 1980, there have now been 20 seven-day losing streaks. The average drop during the previous 19 was 7.3% and the current drop of 1.74% ranks as the second smallest loss.

MonitoringWeek_header

 Monday

  • Evans (Dove)
  • Eurozone: M3 Money Supply (Feb)
  • China: PBOC’s Zhou Speech

Wednesday

  • Evans (Dove)

 Thursday

  • GDP (Revision) (Q4)
  • Eurozone: Industrial, Services & Consumer Confidence (Mar)
  • China: Mfg. & Non-Mfg. PMI (Mar)

 Friday

  • Personal Income (Feb)
  • Kashkari (Dove)

 

 

 

 

[1] We expect S&P 500 gains to be driven by: 1) a pickup in U.S. economic growth partially due to fiscal stimulus; 2) mid- to high-single-digit earnings gains as corporate America emerges from its year-long earnings recession; 3) an expansion in bank lending; and 4) a stable price-to-earnings ratio (PE) of 18 – 19.

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Update: March 6, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Equities move lower to begin week. U.S. stocks are moving lower in early trading, following their European counterparts on little news. The major averages all managed to squeak out slight gains on Friday; the S&P 500’s 0.1% gain was led by financials and healthcare, which both closed up 0.4%. Overnight in Asia, stocks finished mostly higher with the exception of Japan’s Nikkei (-0.5%) as the yen strengthened; the STOXX Europe 600 is lower by 0.5% in afternoon trading. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury is near flat at 2.48% as market-implied expectations of a Fed rate hike in March are near 86%, WTI crude oil ($53.25/barrel) is slightly lower, and COMEX gold ($1231/oz.) is climbing 0.4%.

MacroView_header

  • Brexit, EU summit, China forecasts, Fed “quiet period”, and February jobs report highlight week ahead. Other than the February employment report (due out this Friday, March 10)  it’s a relatively quiet week for U.S. economic data. It’s also the unofficial quiet period for the Federal Reserve ahead of the March 14-15 FOMC meeting. The overseas calendar is chock full of potentially market-moving events, including the EU leaders summit, a potential House of Lords vote on Brexit, the European Central Bank meeting, and a few key reports on China’s economy in February.
  • Beige Book. This week, we’ll examine the Fed’s latest Beige Book, looking for signs of any impact from the new Trump administration, an overheating labor market, rising wages, and inflation ahead of next week’s FOMC meeting.
  • Corporate sentiment improved again in our latest Corporate Beige Book. Sentiment improved among corporate executives based on our analysis of fourth quarter earnings conference call transcripts. Not surprisingly, policy was a popular topic, as corporate tax reform, infrastructure and regulation saw big jumps in the number of mentions. Currency and China also continued to garner a lot of attention, while energy and Brexit faded. The solid fourth quarter results coupled with improved sentiment from corporate executives support our expectation of mid-to-high single digit earnings growth for the S&P 500 in 2017.
  • The Chinese National People’s Congress began its annual meeting on Sunday. Nothing shocking has come out of the meeting so far, though little was expected. Official economic growth forecasts have been cut to 6.5%. The focus of the meeting has been on economic stability, including a reduction in monetary growth targets and efforts to reduce China’s bad debt problem. The most notable change in language related to calls for further currency liberalization. A more market-oriented currency policy suggests potential weakening of the yuan, which would run counter to China’s long-term political goals, as well as increase the likelihood of China being labeled a “currency manipulator” by the Trump administration.
  • Make that six in a row. The S&P 500 was up 0.7% for the second consecutive week, and managed to close at a new weekly all-time high. In the process, it closed higher for the sixth consecutive week for the first time since a six-week win streak off of the February 2016 lows. The last time it was up seven weeks in a row was late 2014. Here’s the catch, the S&P 500 was up only 4.9% the past six weeks – making this one of the weakest six-week win streaks ever. Given the historically small daily trading ranges recently, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise. You have to go back to late 2013 for the last time there was a smaller return during a six-week win streak.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • Kashkari (Dove)

 Tuesday

  • China: Imports and Exports (Feb)
  • Japan: Economy Watchers Survey

 Wednesday

  • ADP Employment (Feb)
  • China: CPI (Feb)

Thursday

  • Initial Claims (3/5)
  • Challenger Job Cut Announcements (Feb)
  • Household Net Worth and Flow of Funds (Q4)
  • European Union leaders Summit in Brussels Begins
  • Eurozone: European Central Bank Meeting (No Change Expected)

Friday

  • Employment Report (Feb)
  • European Union leaders Summit in Brussels Continues

 

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

5 Amazing Tech Advances in Healthcare

In the healthcare industry, innovation is more than a buzzword. The right innovations in the right hands at the right time can, in fact, ensure life triumphs over death. From high-tech sensors and drones to bacteria-quashing light bulbs, technological advances are pushing healthcare into new, exciting directions, providing heightened levels of care and improving quality of life.

Consider these promising developments:

1. Ingestible Sensors

While wearable sensors continue to gain mainstream appeal, ingestible sensors could have a sizeable impact on healthcare and digital medicine.

Health systems are starting to implement ingestible sensors in patients to record medication adherence, which is one of the key components of improved health.1 The sensor—powered by gastric fluids and about the size of a grain of sand—communicates with a skin patch, which captures the medication and the time it was ingested along with personalized data such as heart rate, activity, and rest. This information is then relayed to a mobile app, where the data can be shared with healthcare professionals to help drive medication compliance and personalized treatment.

2. Telehealth

For individuals in remote locations or underserved communities, easy access to healthcare providers can be scarce or nonexistent. However, continued advances in telehealth are making remote point-of-care more accessible, more dynamic, and more personable than ever. Telehealth services, for example, offer video conferencing for live consultations, built-in dashboards for in-field data capture and analysis, and hardware to ensure orderly, coherent interaction between patients and healthcare providers.

3. Drones

While drones are known for delivering frozen yogurt and burritos, their most meaningful impact could come in the healthcare space. Consider these very real possibilities:

  • In remote areas, drones can deliver critical medical supplies such as blood or vaccines to enable treatment.
  • Following a natural disaster, drones can distribute in-demand medical supplies to first responders or victims.
  • On a medical campus, drones can transport medicine, blood, lab samples, or even organs from one unit to another to expedite care.
  • A researcher at the University of Illinois, meanwhile, aims to help elderly patients age in place by testing the use of small drones with manipulator arms to complete simple daily tasks such as bringing medication or cleaning a spill.2

4. Bacteria-killing Light

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are the most frequent adverse event in healthcare delivery worldwide.3 Tech innovation is minimizing this problem.

Light fixtures providing continuous environmental disinfection technology are helping hospitals improve their infection-prevention efforts. One solution uses safe, 405nm visible light that reflects off walls as well as hard and soft surfaces to penetrate harmful bacteria in a given area and reduce bacteria up to 70 percent.4

5. Remote Patient Monitoring

With remote monitoring programs, digital technologies collect key patient health data such as vital signs, heart rate, and blood pressure, and communicate the information to healthcare professionals.

With such key data in professionals’ hands, health problems can be detected earlier, which can reduce hospitalizations and prevent manageable problems from becoming more severe ailments. Remote monitoring can improve patient outcomes and access to care, while also reducing costs—a key concern among the U.S. populace and healthcare systems alike.

 

 

Source: HP

[1] Forbes, Barton Health First To Offer New Digital Medicine Developed By Proteus Digital Health
[2] Inside Unmanned Systems, Drones Deliver Healthcare
[3] World Health Organization, Health Care-Associated Infections Fact Sheet
[4] Kenosha News, Bacteria-killing lights show promise

 

Market Update: February 13, 2017

© Spencer Platt/Getty Images

MarketUpdate_header

  • U.S. indexes aim for fresh record highs on global strength. Domestic markets look to add to last week’s gains after the S&P 500 rose 0.4% Friday with all but one sector finishing in the green; materials (+0.9%), energy (+0.8%), and industrials (+0.8%) led the way while consumer staples (-0.1%) lost ground. Overseas, stocks in Asia began the week higher as traders evaluated Japanese GDP data and a generally positive outcome of the U.S.-Japan summit over the weekend; the Shanghai Composite (+0.6%) and Hang Seng (+0.6%) led major indexes in the region, while the Nikkei gained 0.4%. European markets are also moving up as the STOXX 600 is heading for its fifth consecutive gain. Elsewhere, the dollar touched a two-week high, WTI crude oil ($53.07/barrel) is pulling back after three days of gains, COMEX gold ($1227/oz.) is modestly lower, and the yield on 10-year Treasuries is up 3 basis points (0.03%) to 2.44%.

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  • Earnings update: strong growth, decent upside. With 71% of S&P 500 companies having reported, S&P 500 earnings are tracking to an 8.4% year-over-year increase, 2.3% above estimates on January 1, 2017 (Thomson Reuters data). Financials, materials, and technology have produced the most upside (all 3% or more) and financials the most growth (+20.8%), followed by technology at 10.9%. An earnings gain for all 11 S&P sectors remains possible with no sector down more than 1.5%. Revenue growth ticked up to 4.4%, led by consumer discretionary, healthcare and technology. This week is another busy one with 55 S&P 500 companies slated to report results.

021317_earningsdashboard-01

  • Supportive guidance. S&P 500 earnings estimates for 2017 are down by a below-average 1.1% since earnings season began (the average decline is 2.5%). Industrials, financials and energy estimates have held up best, with energy actually seeing estimates rise. We continue to expect mid- to high-single-digit earnings growth for the S&P 500 overall in 2017, and have seen nothing from corporate America during earnings season that would cause us to lose confidence in that forecast. The possibility exists that this forecast might prove too low given the potential for a policy boost later this year
  • Real estate by cycles. Evaluating real estate investments depends on three cycles: the economic cycle, the building cycle, and the interest rate cycle. We believe we are in a good spot in the economic cycle for attractive real estate returns, with steady job gains and an improving domestic economic growth outlook. The building cycle for real estate shows little sign of the type of overbuilding that has ended previous cycles. Finally, although we expect interest rates to rise, we expect increases to be modest and driven by improving economic growth and a gradual pickup in inflation, conditions historically favorable for real estate. Based on these metrics, our real estate outlook, including REITs, is favorable while a spike in interest rates remains a key risk.
  • Japan releases Q4 and 2016 gross domestic product (GDP) data overnight. The results were modestly disappointing as Q4 growth was 0.2% vs. an estimated 0.3%; for calendar year 2016, GDP growth was 1.0%, vs. consensus expectations of 1.1%. More telling than the narrow miss itself is the source of Japanese growth: mostly exports. Domestic consumption was flat for Q4 and represented about one half of the total economic growth in 2016. This may encourage Japanese authorities to weaken the yen further, though doing so may ire the Trump administration, which had previously labeled Japan’s trade surplus as unfair. Japanese stocks were stronger overnight, while the yen weakened 0.4%.
  • Busy calendar this week includes Yellen testimony. Fed Chair Yellen’s semiannual monetary policy testimony to Congress highlights this week’s very busy economic and event calendar. In addition to Yellen, a half dozen other Fed officials are on the docket as markets gauge whether or not the Fed will raise rates at its March 2017 meeting. The data due out this week on January CPI, retail sales, leading indicators, housing starts and industrial production, along with February reports on Empire State and Philadelphia Fed manufacturing and housing market sentiment, will weigh on the Fed’s decision. Overseas, Q4 GDP reports are due out in the Eurozone, Poland, and Malaysia, along with the always timely ZEW report (February) in Germany. There are no major central bank meetings this week.
  • Happy Anniversary. The S&P 500 hit last year’s low on February 11 and has since gained more than 26%. Over the past year we’ve seen a massive global stock market rally, with financials, energy, and materials leading in the U.S. A year ago there were calls to “sell everything” and many high-profile cuts of year-end equity targets.

MonitoringWeek_header

Sunday

  • Japan: GDP (Q4)

Monday

  • China: CPI (Jan)

Tuesday

  • NFIB Small Business Optimism Index (Jan)
  • Fed Chair Yellen’s Semiannual Monetary Policy Testimony to Congress-Senate
  • Kaplan (Hawk*)
  • Eurozone: GDP (Q4)
  • Germany: ZEW (Feb)

Wednesday

  • CPI (Jan)
  • Retail Sales (Jan)
  • NAHB Housing Market Index (Feb)
  • Fed Chair Yellen’s Semiannual Monetary Policy Testimony to Congress-House

Thursday

  • Housing Starts (Jan)
  • Philadelphia Fed Mfg. Report (Feb)
  • G-20 Foreign Ministers meeting
  • Eurozonee: Account of the 01/19/17 European Central Bank meeting released

Friday

  • Leading Indicators (Jan)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.